By Ibrahim Sulaiman
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is investigating a series of questionable transactions into the account of Kabiru Tafida, the chief of staff to the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III.
Sources at the EFCC told DAILY NIGERIAN that Mr Tafida, who holds the title of Sarkin Fadan Sokoto, was briefly detained by the anti-graft agency and later freed on bail on Tuesday.
According to the sources, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Reporting Unit, NFIU, flagged the account, following transfer of N700million in two tranches from Sokoto State government into the account.
Upon investigation, Mr Tafida allegedly confessed that the money was meant for the purchase of a house for the Sultan in Abuja.
“We suspect foul play as the money was lodged into a personal account instead of the Sultanate Council’s account,” said an operative who pleaded not to be named.
Investigators further said there were other questionable lodgements into Mr Tafida’s account from “other sources”, which the commission is investigating.
Reacting to the story in a statement in the early hours of Thursday, Imam Imam, the spokesman for Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, said the money was captured in the budget and due process was followed in the “execution of the matter”.
Mr Imam also provided council extracts and other documents to buttress his point.
Read the full reaction of the state government and the documents provided
The attention of Sokoto State Government has been drawn to rumours making the rounds as to the nature of approval given for the purchase of house and office accommodation for the Sultanate Council in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory.
We wish to state the facts of the matter as follows:
- The Sokoto State Government, CONCERNED by lack of a befitting office and residential accommodation for use by officials and members of the Sultanate Council, approved within its CAPITAL ESTIMATES of the 2016 Supplementary Budget and 2017 Budget, the sum of Two Hundred Million Naira (N200 million) and Five Hundred Million Naira (N500 million) respectively, PROVISION AND FURNISHING OF SULTANATE COUNCIL OFFICE AND RESIDENCE IN ABUJA.
- The items are on Pages 11 and 362 of the approved budget documents with Sub Head Numbers 467/131 which was passed by the Sokoto State House of Assembly and signed into law by Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal on Friday, February 10, 2017.
- Furthermore, the Sokoto State Executive Council, the highest decision-making body in the state, via a resolution of the EXCO with number CC (2016) 5R of Wednesday, December 28, 2016, approved the purchase of the office and residential accommodation in Abuja.
- Thereafter, the Office of the Secretary of State Government received three offers from different Estate Developers which were vetted and assessed by the Ministry of Works and the State Due Process Office.
- Following adherence to laid down procedure, the process of acquiring the property was set in motion upon which some elements are now trying to make political capital out of it.
We wish to make it clear that all laid down legal and administrative procedure has been followed in the execution of the matter.
The Sultanate Council and its officials are important component of the life of Sokoto State. Its funding is taken care of by extant provisions of the laws of Sokoto State and executed primarily from revenue sources accruing to the State and Local Government Councils.
We felt that providing a befitting office and residential accommodation to its officials will further strengthen the work officials of the Sultanate Council are carrying out in Abuja. The present situation where officials pay huge sums of money to stay in hotels is economically unsustainable in the long run.
We urge reporters and other members of the public to discountenance rumour mongers and always verify news stories from authorized channels.
Thank you for your usual cooperation and understanding.
Malam Imam Imam
Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs to Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal